Mr. Jagermeister Favored in 10,000 Lakes Stakes Saturday

Plus, see the 143rd Preakness simulcast at 5:48 p.m.

Shakopee, Minn. — Saturday’s 10-race program at Canterbury Park, which begins at 12:45 p.m., features two $50,000 stakes sprints for horses bred in Minnesota, the 10,000 Lakes and the Lady Slipper.

In the 10,000 Lakes, each of the six entrants previously won stakes races at Canterbury Park. Three-year-old Mr. Jagermeister, who last year won the Northern Lights Futurity, will face older horses for the first time in his career. The colt, trained by Valorie Lund, most recently finished second in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn Park chasing one of the fastest 3-year-old sprinters in the country.

“He’s got some tough, tough horses to run against and he’s still a baby, but he’s a talented baby,” Lund said.

Mr. Jagermeister, the 2 to 1 morning line favorite, will be ridden by Leandro Goncalves. He will face the all-time leading money earner at Canterbury Park, Hold for More, who last season won the 10,000 Lakes Stakes.

Also entered is Hot Shot Kid, who won four consecutive races at Canterbury in 2017 including the Minnesota Derby. Also in the field are 2017 Minnesota Sprint champion Smooth Chiraz, turf specialist A P Is Loose, and Fridaynitestar.

The Lady Slipper, restricted to Minnesota bred fillies and mares, is also a six horse field. Favored is last year’s winner Honey’s Sox Appeal. She is owned by Bob Lindgren of Prior Lake and is trained and ridden by 2017 champions Mac Robertson and Jareth Loveberry.

In addition to live racing, Canterbury will offer simulcast wagering on Saturday for the 143rd Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Post time is 5:48 p.m. There will be plenty of family-friendly activities throughout the day as well including a bride and bride-to-be wedding dress dash to celebrate the Royal Wedding. Participants will race down the main track in bridal gowns for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card to Continental Diamond. Live music will be provided by Tim Mahoney. A selfie station with princesses and ‘the queen’ will be available for guests.

General admission is $9 for adults; children 17 and younger are admitted free. Parking is also free. More information is available at www.canterburypark.com . Racing resumes tonight at 6:30 p.m. and continues Saturday at 12:45 p.m.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

2014Preakness

by Angela Hermann

I’ll be watching the Preakness this Saturday from a few different vantage points.  First, there’s live racing going on.  It’s a different beast than when the race is only being shown via simulcast, and admittedly my attention this week has been shared between all of these events.  Second, there’s the racing fan in me.  California Chrome follows in the footsteps of many a Derby winner as the morning line favorite in the Preakness.  None in recent memory, however, have garnered quite the support right from the start (that morning line – WOAH) in their quest for the second jewel in the Triple Crown.  Big Brown came close, but even just advances in social media have made this attractive colt a popular pick not only in this race, but in three weeks at Belmont Park.

Indeed, due to the stock left in the hopper in the three year old colt division many are ready to hand over the TC to CC…..but is it that easy?  He definitely scared off the majority of the Derby field, but they were perceived as rather mediocre before that time too weren’t they?  Even if he breezes through Baltimore, ‘Chrome will have faces waiting for him in New York that he’s seen before.  A few will be faces that weren’t that far behind his back hooves at a mile and a quarter.  I’m not saying it’s not a major possibility this year, but is my memory the only one that recalls how many other Iron-Looking Horses emerged from the Derby only to be humbled by the difficult trail that is winning all three races in a matter of five weeks?  Much is being made of some throat blister, but in any other stall but the Derby winner’s there most likely wouldn’t even be a second thought put to it.  We may hear about it afterwards if he runs anything but first…..but don’t let something like that deter you if he’s your horse.  The point is valid that runs among trainers who’ve won the Derby: The bottom put in by a race like that is usually good enough to have a horse ready to roll a half furlong shorter at Pimlico.  Heck, the chips are stacked in his corner and the price again will be unsavory.  Derby winners have switched off between winning & placing in the Preakness in the past decade or so though, and the defeats haven’t always come to superhorses.  The other view will come from that of a gambler….and betting CC really isn’t worth it outside of exotics.

The gambler in me has a little too much pride when it comes to the Preakness.  I’ll admit it, I stand by my horse that I’ve been after all spring because of his price.  Bayern may not go off at 10-1, but he may never be close to his eventual price in his life again.  Of course this all depends on his performance Saturday, but he hasn’t thrown in a clunker yet.  I was not in the camp that expected him to waltz away with the Derby Trial.  Yes, probably thought he’d win by more than he did but it was still only his fourth career start.  He at least answered the question of what he’d do when looked in the eye by a horse – And one has to respect the fact that he would NOT let Embellishing Bob pass, even if it meant punishment from the stewards.  I’ve never been a huge Offlee Wild fan, but that bottom line is something to be coveted.  He’s out of an unraced Thunder Gulch mare who can count Althea among her aunts.  The whole bunch could run far and against nice horses…doesn’t he get another chance at this kind of distance?  I’d be tempted to say that most horses who’ve won their first couple of races as fast as he did and the way that he did are written off as “Middle distance” animals before the prove or disprove their merits down the road.  I won’t be unloading any massive amounts of money on him but he will be on my tickets.  One more chance for Bobby & Bayern, then I’m off the wagon too.  If he wins, the sting is alleviated.  If CC pulls through again, I’ll never be happier to be wrong.

Whether you play Canterbury, the Preakness or both (I strongly encourage option C), wager wisely and enjoy the festivities of opening weekend!

Jack Kaenel’s Improbable Ride

The movie reel in his mind began rolling with the first strains of Maryland My Maryland Saturday afternoon, reeling off the events of that special occasion in vivid technicolor. Jack Kaenel was on the mezzanine of the grandstand at Canterbury Park watching the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes on the 30th anniversary of his stirring, improbable victory in the very same race aboard Aloma’s Ruler.

As I’ll Have Another was stirring the passions of the racing world by putting another piece in place for his run at the Triple Crown, Kaenel had mixed feelings. He was rooting for his buddies Mike Smith and Bob Baffert who were teamed up with Bodemeister. Yet he was satisfied that racing had another shot at a Triple Crown winner.

Then, the old movie reel started to play and the sequence of events began to roll across the surface of his memory.

He was 16 years, a mere kid, and here he was aboard Aloma’s Ruler, holding off the incomparable Bill Shoemaker and 1-2 favorite Linkage to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown. The year was 1982 and the win thrust him into the spotlight of the racing world where he was known thereafter as Cowboy Jack Kaenel.

Saturday, this film of Aloma Ruler’s Preakness stopped momentarily on the moments after the race, just long enough for Kaenel to recall a troubling moment that afternoon.

“I don’t talk about this usually,” he said Sunday afternoon. “But I was really aggravated afterwards when I was going to change my silks and ride in the next race.”

There were interviews to conduct and pictures to be taken. Kaenel was told that he wouldn’t be riding in the next race, that he had been taken off his mount to conduct the business of being a Preakness Stakes winner.

“I was [angry],” he said. “It was a $4,000 race but I knew I could win it and I wanted to ride,” he said. “The money wasn’t important. I wanted to win that race.”

No one ever questioned Kaenel’s desire to win or his talent on a horse.

He has been described variously over time as a horse whisperer or an equine psychologist, able to interpret a horse’s feelings, read their minds, calculate what they have left, ask of them only what they truly have to give.

And he could watch a race unfold, detect everything going on around him and respond accordingly.

“Obviously, he has great talent,” said trainer Lonnie Arterburn. “He won quite a few races for me in California. He’s a smart rider, an asset riding a horse.”

Kaenel hitched a ride from Remington Park to Shakopee with trainer Jerry Livingston, who put him to work exercising horses from his barn.

Livingston and other trainers, like Arterburn and Casey Black are rooting for Kaenel, willing to help him get back into the sport. The 16-year-old winner of the Preakness Stakes has won more than 4,000 races in his career but his career has been a series of fits and starts because of alcoholism, relapses, seizures, a brain surgery and other maladies.

His career is replete with stories of his colorful, zany antics during alcohol-fueled escapades: He rode a Brahma bull into a saloon in California, hitched it to the bar while he had a drink and engaged in match races at midnight while stark naked.

His friends say he always liked a good time.

“He’s a great guy,” added Livingston. “We just don’t know if he can withstand the scrutiny if he starts riding again.”

Again, the talent has always been there. “We’d like to help him out, get him going again,” said Black. “Get him back in the saddle. He’s a natural, just like a super football player, a (John) Elway, somebody like that. It’s like a gift of God.”

Kaenel rode at Canterbury during the track’s first couple of years and made a return attempt to ride here in 2005, shortly before a seizure required brain surgery to save his life.

Now he is back once more, hoping to catch on, hoping somehow to produce a fitting final segment to the story of his career.

 

TIDBITS HERE AND ELSEWHERE

There were noteworthy local footnotes to I’ll Have Another’s wonderful story in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. The winner of the $100,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap was a horse name Hamazing Destiny, ridden by Corey Nakatani, trained by D. Wayne Lukas and owned by Minnesota native and Canterbury regular Barry Butzow along with Westrock Stables.

There were two riding doubles on Sunday’s card at Canterbury. Senor Juan Rivera brought in (his namesake?) Ize On Juan in race one and Dazzling Marna in the sixth.

Tanner Riggs, who truly sits tall in saddle, won the fourth race on Frankie Dapper and the card finale on Sputey’s Cabin.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Local Stakes & Preakness Elicit Excitement

Now the conjecture begins. Not since Affirmed outdueled Alydar in 1978 has horse racing had such potential for history to repeat itself… or not. The similarities are certain to be pointed out ad infinitum, even ad nauseam, in the coming days, right up to post time for the Belmont Stakes if both horses do indeed run.

If you liked the Kentucky Derby, you had to love the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. Visions of the great Triple Crown rivalry danced through the minds of anyone even vaguely familiar with that wondrous summer. Another year, Alydar likely would have been a Triple Crown champion, outdueled in each of the classics by Affirmed.

Now the scene is set for I’ll Have Another to do the same to Bodemeister. There is little doubt that those two horses are clearly at the front of the three-year-old crop this season right now. The Kentucky Derby finish left the racing public wondering if Bodemeister had simply outrun himself with blazing fractions, that I’ll Have Another took advantage of a tiring horse. Bodemeister had the front end to himself with a fractions more to his liking on Saturday and I’ll Have Another caught him once again.

A shot in the arm for racing?

“This is fabulous,” said Canterbury Park president/CEO Randy Sampson. “This might be the year things finally go our way.”

“This is the difference between 6,500 and 16,000 (fans) on Belmont Day,” said Canterbury announcer Paul Allen.

Comments of this nature are always difficult to pry from Media Relations director Jeff Maday.

“It was a good race. The best Triple Crown race of the day,” he said.

Who knows, Bodemeister might take the Belmont Stakes off. But for the immediate future, racing seems to be very, very healthy.

Preakness Stakes Saturday brought out a large number of colorful dresses and wide-brimmed hats. No group resplendent in such attire was any more festive than the group of young ladies gathered in the winner’s circle after the first race to celebrate the upcoming marriage of Danielle Theobald, to become Ellingson, she pointed out, on June 16 in Rochester.

She and 13 of her friends – six of them part of the upcoming wedding party – used the big day in racing as their bachelorette shindig and got the ball rolling minutes after three-time riding champ Dean Butler got his second win of the season, this one aboard Gone Digital.

Butler’s silks caught the attention of one of the bachelorettes, adorned as they are with the emblem of the owners, Hector Bulldog Partners.

“My boyfriend has a tattoo of a bulldog that looks just like that,” she said. “Could you let me get a picture.”

The Canterbury riding champ obliged, delaying his exit from the winner’s circle.

When a bystander commented on the bevy of attractive women surrounding him after the photo was taken, Butler rolled his eyes and headed for the jockeys’ room.

Canterbury’s defending riding champ got started with a win in the next to last race on Friday’s season-opening card. He followed up Saturday by winning aboard Gone Digital, trained by Tony Rengstorf.

So, Rengstorf has three wins for the season, a most auspicious start he refuses to let go to his head.

“Come see me in two hours,” he said, well aware of the vicissitudes of his sport. “I learned about that a long time ago.”

Veteran Hall of Fame rider Scott Stevens continues to make his presence felt. He had a winner on opening day and was aboard Downtown Delight for trainer Michael Biehler in race two on Saturday.

Stevens set a goal for himself a year or two ago of riding at least one winner a day as his riding career ostensibly winds down. “So far, so good,” he said Saturday behind wide grin.

“I just need more business now. I only have one mount tomorrow.”

BUTLER MINES HIDDEN GOLD

The $35,000 Lady Slipper stakes was a three-horse race until the 16th pole. Then Butler elicited the coup de grace kick from defending champ Hidden Gold (pictured above), who drew off to a solid 1 ¼ length victory over Sheso Dazzling with Polar Plunge claiming third.

“It was a great race,” said trainer Francisco Bravo. “I thought it came down to one of three horses, and we were the ones today. Dean gave the horse a great ride, terrific.”

Ann Sachdev owns the horse with Bravo’s wife, Lori. Ann’s husband, Sunil, provided another explanation for the victory.

He stood in the very same spot during the race that he did a year ago when Hidden Gold won.

“Superstition. That’s what did it,” he said.

Kayleigh Butler could have cared less. Her father had won the stakes race and she jumped into his arms for the winning photo in front of a crowd of more than 8,000.

2012 Lady Slipper and 10,000 Lakes Stakes Replays

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WINNING

Bet your Boots could have used some comfortable slippers after last year’s 10,000 Lakes Stakes. He got sore feet and needed some intensive doctoring to get right again for the race.

Saturday, it appeared that his feet were just fine and that he was in fact right again.

With Juan Rivera up, Bet Your Boots dug deep to finish a half-length in front of the 2010 winner of the 10,000 Lakes, with Samendra claiming third.

Owner-breeder Richard Bremer had terse instructions for Rivera. “Whatever you do, don’t give up the rail,” Bremer said.

Rivera hugged the rail as if it were a long-lost relative, and the son of Birdstone did the rest.

“His feet were so tender after last year’s race that he needed some rest,” said Bremer. That was last May 11, and Bet Your Boots was idle until April 29 when he finished third in a $35,000 optional claiming race at Prairie Meadows.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

2012 Preakness Preview

Following the excitement of opening night on Friday at Canterbury, we’ll keep the energy in the building high on Saturday with the simulcast the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico!

While it is sometimes overshadowed by its Triple Crown Mates (The Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes), this Mile and 3/16th journey provides a grueling test of its own: Recover from the longest race of a colt’s life and have him ready two weeks later to run nearly as far.

While it seems a challenge to ship east and be ready in that short period of time, many times horses exiting the Kentucky Derby fare better than new shooters. Whether it’s the preparation by connections, the distance of the race or simply the quality of horses coming from Kentucky, a play against derby contenders is typically not profitable. Bernardini and Rachel Alexandra stand as the ultimate exceptions over the past few years, both being Horse of the Year caliber animals in crops lacking real superstars in the Derby. On that note, we’ll examine the contenders coming from Churchill for round two on the Triple Crown Trail:

I’ll Have Another (1st) – The winner of the Derby has a distinct scent of Charismatic on him. By that I mean he is not even being mentioned in the same breath as Bodemeister, and will almost certainly not be the favorite come post time Saturday. While he looks like a solid second choice prospect, those seeking a fair price will find it here considering the impressive way he’s trained since the Derby.

Bodemeister (2nd) – The easy-to-find favorite will have slightly less ground to cover in Baltimore, leading cash his way by virtue of his outstanding run in Kentucky. The most naturally talented runner based on his races thus far, his drawback is his running style. Speed horses simply need to be more tractable than he is to win Triple Crown Races. Three year olds beware, for once he figures out how to ration that brilliant speed he will be awfully tough to beat.

Went the Day Well (4th) – Graham Motion’s lightly raced colt needs to carve out a better trip than the Derby, but inevitably he will have an easier time of it without 19 horses to beat. Given the fractions Bodemeister set, the field should have been swallowing him up late… but even with the table set only I’ll Have Another came to dinner. Who’s to say this horse will get a much better set-up in Baltimore?

Creative Cause (5th) – I hate to bring personal reasons into liking or not liking a horse, but I just can’t get in this horse’s corner. He is bred to run long, bred to be a TC contender, yet with a favorable scenario in the Derby the best he could muster was a distant fifth. I’m sure Mike Harrington is a swell guy, but his game for the most part in California is two-year olds. Creative Cause was a very good two-year old, and due to that maturity and foundation was able to make noise this spring in west coast preps. However, and I mean no harm by this, but I’ll believe it when I see it with a Classic Winner from this barn. The frequent flier miles he’s racked up lately don’t help either.

Daddy Nose Best (10th) – Oh, Daddy Nose Best. I bit hard on the morning hype surrounding this horse in Louisville, and paid the price watching all of my tickets head in the garbage. Apparently it just wasn’t his day and Steve Asmussen believes he can rebound here. He doesn’t have the percentage that he has entering horses in the wrong spots. I’m not losing the faith completely in this horse, as it looks like he truly wants the distance and then some. He just needs to get a lot faster than he was two weeks ago. No sweat. Demand at least double digits before placing a dime in this corner.

Optimizer (11th) – D. Wayne Lukas lost the manual he used to have for training Grade 1 winners. All of his best performances to date have come on the grass or against horses that have no place on the Triple Crown Trail. Can’t fault the connections for ducking anyone, but they possibly could be breaking a talented turf horse’s heart. Note to Optimizer: When you get saddled Saturday, make a break for it and run as many laps as you can on that turf course until they change their minds.

While post position probably won’t matter as much in this relatively short field of three-year olds as in the Derby, keep in mind that the rail has only been victorious twice since 1960 – Bally Ache and Tabasco Cat. Tune in later this week on the radio or live at Canterbury to find out who I’ll be betting in the second leg of the Triple Crown. Best of luck to you all and we hope to see you out here for opening weekend!

This blog was written by Canterbury Paddock Analyst Angela Hermann. Angela Hermann is entering her second year as Canterbury’s Paddock Analyst after previously serving in a similar role at Lincoln Racecourse and Columbus Ag Park. She blogs about both local and National racing.